[Reader-list] Taliban is the future

Kshmendra Kaul kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 9 17:59:59 IST 2010

Dear Pawan
Why would you want to wait for 3 years? India is already fighting the Taliban within India.
One should not get confused by different names identifying groups. Al-Qaeda, Taliban, LET, HUJI etc etc etc; they are all the same ideologically.
That is why I stressed upon this that, instead of political/militaristic adventurism in alien lands, India should be "defending and insulating India from the religious and political adventurism of inimical neighbours." 
I must add; what India also needs to do is to deal sensitively with the plaints of the citizens and by doing so shield them from being easy prey for recruitment by the religious extremists/terrorists from any religion.

--- On Tue, 3/9/10, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Reader-list] Taliban is the future
To: "Kshmendra Kaul" <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com>
Cc: "reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2010, 5:17 PM

Dear Mr Kaul , 

My view on this is different . 

I believe that if we do not fight Taliban in Afghanisatn now , we would be fighting them in India 3 years from now.

Choice is ours.


On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 5:11 PM, Kshmendra Kaul <kshmendra2005 at yahoo.com> wrote:

Dear Pawan
I would agree with Gen Hamid Gul that "Taliban is the future". Not only for Afghanistan, which has been explicitly mentioned by Gen Gul but also for Pakistan, which Gen Gul might be hesitant in mentioning but about which there is no ambiguity that Gen Gul would like to see that happen.
Afghanistan is likely to see the dislodgement of the present (USA supported) government either, if Taliban agrees, by it being integrated with the Taliban (as Pakistan and USA also are attempting) , or by a takeover by the Taliban in case USA decides not to suffer any further losses in Afghanistan and vacates.
It is also likely that such a Taliban-Run Afghanistan will be a smaller geographical entity carved out from the present one.
Taliban is already integrated into Pakistan. The ideology of the Taliban is being furthered in Pakistan, not only by religious teaching and propagation but through clearly visible ideological expressions in the Politics, Military, Media, Education and Civil Society of Pakistan.
If Afghanistan were to go the way projected by me, it would not be long before there is an openly Talibanised shift in the governance of Pakistan.
I would term the currently seen actions by the Pakistan Military against TTP (Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan) as jostling for control between two different Talibanised entities.
Whatever be the scenarios emerging in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I think it is downright stupid of India  to be involved in any which way in Afghanistan in what appears to be India's vision of the grandeur of being termed a Regional Power.
India is better advised to concentrate on improving the lives of the citizens of India and altering it's adventures to defending and insulating India from the religious and political adventurism of inimical neighbours. 

--- On Mon, 3/8/10, Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Pawan Durani <pawan.durani at gmail.com>
Subject: [Reader-list] Taliban is the future
To: "reader-list" <reader-list at sarai.net>
Date: Monday, March 8, 2010, 7:56 PM

Dear Readers ,

Before I am being misinterpreted once again , i wish to clarify that the
subject line is not mine . This is a statement by Gen Hamid Gul of

The reason I am sharing his interview is for the reason that I found his
thoughts very similar to Lashkar & Taliban. Just wanted to know if others
feel the same ?

Pawan Durani


“America is history, Karzai is history, the Taliban are the future”

You recently said 'the Taliban is the future, the Americans are the past in
Afghanistan'. Isn't that a little far-fetched?

The Americans are defeated. It isn't necessarily because their firepower and
their might has weakened, but it is because their own people are sick and
tired [of engagement in Afghanistan]. There is fatigue now, fatigue is the
threat and is the worst thing for a nation to suffer from. There is no way
that the Americans can hold on to Afghanistan.

Could that lead to [Afghanistan President] Hamid Karzai's government being

Karzai is no more. He is now fighting for his life. They have already
started telling him that by the end of this year he will have to shoulder
the responsibility of security in Afghanistan. But what are they giving him
for this? Nothing at all. In fact, more civilian casualties in military
operations are going to weaken Karzai's position.

Some in Afghanistan believe that the extent of civilian casualties has
empowered the Taliban's resurgence.

It is not only that. While the civilian casualties have certainly made the
Taliban a popular movement in Afghanistan - some 80 per cent of the
population support them - the people of Afghanistan are fed up with

They are sick of the influence of warlords and drug barons, and the
continued American occupation.
If it was a shot stint - come in and get out after completing the job - the
situation would have been different. But the Americans didn't do that. If
they wanted to disperse al-Qaeda, they succeeded after the first year, and
after that they should have pulled out. The fact they stayed on betrays
their real intentions in Afghanistan until Barack Obama, the US president,
came and started talking about withdrawal.

It was only last December that Obama announced that the US will pull out of
Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton said the same thing, but there is a dichotomy.

On the one hand they say 'We are not here to stay in Afghanistan', but on
the other hand they carry out surges and want to prop up and build the
Afghan Army.

However, they don't give the money to build the Afghan Army - just $140mn.
Compare this to how much it costs the US to keep just one soldier in
Afghanistan - $1mn dollars per soldier per year in Afghanistan. They have
now about 68,000 US troops. It is currently costing them $65bn just to
maintain these troops. There are another 30,000 US troops now coming, so it
will cost the US $100bn a year to maintain its forces in Afghanistan.

The US is a heavily indebted nation so how are they going to afford this?
Some 57 per cent of Americans in the polls say they don't like this war and
want their boys to return home. The Americans can't take casualties, that is
their problem. To compensate, they started employing security contractors,
some 104,000 security contractors currently in Afghanistan.

What does this mean? Mercenaries to be used where troops cannot be deployed?
We have already seen what mercenaries did in Iraq. The Americans are more
and more inclined - because the US military cannot suffer casualties - to
employ mercenaries, not just from the US but also from the local population.

This is a very dangerous trend if we are to believe that mercenaries can win
wars and carry forward the political objectives of the country. This means
that whoever has more money can employ more mercenaries, win wars, win
territories, etc.

Given everything you have just said, how do you think the latest US and Nato
offensive against the Taliban is going to play out?

It is not going to work. I think it is an 'eye wash', it has political
purpose back home. But there is no political purpose for Afghanistan. They
are saying that they are protecting the civilian population, but they are
dislodging the civilians from their homes in very harsh weather conditions
in Afghanistan.
The cold winds from the steppes of Central Asia sweep these regions. When
you launch such military operations, the people are inevitably dislodged and
their fields abandoned. In this situation, what are the Americans trying to
achieve - I don't know.

There is much ambiguity about their political objectives. Every military
conflict must have a political purpose. I cannot discern that there is any
political purpose.

>From a strategic point of view, Pakistan's involvement in Afghanistan has
been seen as setting up a buffer, or deterrent, to India. But now that
Pakistan has nuclear capability, how important is Afghanistan to Islamabad?

We want a friendly Afghanistan. We know India is playing havoc with us. The
Pakistani Taliban are being sponsored by the Indian intelligence and the
Mossad, by the way, to carry out their attacks in Pakistan. The Mossad is
very active in Pakistan and they are providing all the guidance and
technical support to the Indian intelligence. So, Pakistan has to have its
back covered - no country can fight on two fronts.

We have to have a friendly Afghanistan, this does not mean that we dominate
Afghanistan. No one can dominate Afghanistan, a country which has already
buried two superpowers and the third one is about to be buried there.

No, that's not the purpose Pakistan has in Afghanistan.

Is the failure to stabilise Afghanistan adversely affecting Pakistan's own

Yes, indeed it is. The conflict is not just derivative of the failures of
the Kabul government - that is a puppet government. The real cause of the
conflict is the occupation of Afghanistan by the Americans. If they go out,
and after such a time - post-US occupation, the OIC and the Muslim countries
have to come in and play their part. Then Afghanistan can redeem itself.

I do not think that Afghanistan will be another Vietnam for the Americans
because they have said they will pull out. Obama is a president who is very
clear. In his State of the Union address, I think it was clear he was not
addressing terrorism but instead focusing on such internal issues as
healthcare, unemployment and debt servicing.

It appears he is more focused on the domestic front than foreign affairs.
You can't focus on both at the same time.

There has been a surge in violence in Pakistan since the exit of Pervez
Musharraf, the former president. The Pakistani Taliban threaten towns and
cities, and there are tensions between the PPP and MQM in key ports like
Karachi. What is needed to stabilise Pakistan right now?

Political cleaning up of the mess. The rule of law must take root in
Pakistan. Unfortunately, the more powerful among the politicians and
generals, when it comes to their turn - whether by martial law or civilian
democracy - they want to run the affairs of the country according to their
own predilections and propensities. And that is where we go wrong.

The political institution has to be set right; the Supreme Court and
Parliament must be empowered. Right now, all the power is vested under the
17th Amendment, which was an amendment to the constitution passed by the
dictator Musharraf in 2003. This gave more power to the office of the
president and the ability to bypass the constitution and remain in
leadership irrespective of elections.
Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president, now has that power and he is
refusing to budge. So, the 17th Amendment has to go, Parliament has to be
empowered, rule of law by the Supreme Court has to be established and the
army must not interfere. Then things will begin to fall in place and we will
take the right direction.

Do you think the US is helping Zardari stay in power because he is seen as
co-operating in the so-called war on terror?
I think there is ambivalence in their position and they sometimes do
criticise him. The American press has in the past bashed Zardari, but it has
gone quiet now. The Americans fear the return of the Supreme Court in
Pakistan because it could rule that the US drone attacks are violations of
the country's sovereignty.

If that happens, Parliament would have to act on the Supreme Court's
decision and reverse the policy. The Americans are sceptical and suspicious
that if the Supreme Court is given free reign in Pakistan, it is likely to
rule against their interests and agenda in Pakistan.

Do you think the government will survive until the next national elections?

The government will survive but I am almost certain Zardari will not. I do
not want to appear to be clairvoyant, but I doubt Zardari has many days left
in government.

In recent years, US officials have accused you of having close ties with the
Taliban and al-Qaeda. How do you respond to that?

No, this is wrong, I have no such ties. As far as al-Qaeda is concerned, I
simply say come up with the evidence for 911. You haven't even charged Osama
bin Laden so far, that means you don't have hard evidence against him. The
full story is yet to come out.
In my opinion, all this is a gimmick, an inside job.

In regards to the Taliban, I support their cause of Afghan resistance. I
lend them my moral support because I have in the past had strong connections
with them. Incidentally, I maintained strong connections with both sides.
Many in the Afghan government are my good friends.

But since the Taliban are representing the national spirit of resistance, I
have given them my voice. The Americans sent my name to the UN Security
Council to put me on a sanctions list and declare me an international
terrorist. But they failed because the Chinese knew the truth well and
blocked that move.
Basically, the Americans have nothing against me. I saw the charges and I
replied to them in the English-language press in Pakistan. I said if they
have anything against me to bring it forward, put me on trial. Tell me what
wrong I have done. I have been taking moral stands. The Americans talk of
freedom of speech, but apparently my speech hurts them because it counters
their excesses.

I won't use the word 'interests' because what US policy-makers are doing
runs against the interests of the American people. If I say this is right
and this is wrong, I am exercising my right and ultimately, this is to the
benefit of the American people.

But Zardari once told a western journal that you are a "political ideologue
of terror".

I wrote a letter to Zardari that I am an ideologue of jihad, which is common
between us. He is a Muslim like me and believes in the Quran. Terror is a
totally different thing. I do not support terror at all, but jihad is our
right when a nation is oppressed. According to the United Nations Charter,
national resistance for liberation is a right. We call this a jihad.

Source: Al-Jazeera
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